Elizabeth Minett Explains Why Candles Are So Important at Home

Cander Paris founder Elizabeth Minett just launched her first candle collection. She spoke with the Observer about her tranquil Malibu home, her favorite scents and getting into the industry.
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Minett describes her interior aesthetic as minimal.
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Malibu itself inspired her home décor.
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Minett moved into this Malibu home at the beginning of 2017.
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She previously lived in West Hollywood.
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Minett wanted her home to be tranquil.
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The terrace is one of her favorite spaces.
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It overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
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She recently began collecting more art, and her favorite pieces are by Jeffery Hargrave.
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The entrepreneur is expecting her first child in November.
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She came up with the concept for Cander Paris in 2015.
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The first collection launched last month.
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She plans on expanding further into personal scents and accessories.
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Scents and fragrances have always been special for Elizabeth Minett. Growing up near Toronto, Canada, Minett was drawn to the sensory connections that specific scents inspire.

“I love candles and perfumes, and ambiance creation,” she said. Her passion for fragrance and a disillusion with the digital landscape led her to transition from modeling and blogging to founding Cander Paris, a collection of luxury candles. The debut collection of Cander launched last month, with just four simple scents—and some minimalist branding, to boot. The candles, which are made in Paris, were created in partnership with French perfumer, Emmanuel Philip.

But Minett isn’t stopping with this first collection of votives. “I’d like to expand the product list we have, but I knew I wanted to start with candles. They say smells are one of the strongest memories; it relates to people everywhere in a personal way,” she told the Observer.

Here, she shows off how the candles accent her Malibu home, which she moved into at the beginning of 2017. Similar to Cander’s aesthetic, Minett’s modern abode is brimming with minimalist details.

Tell us about your favorite space at home.

It’s probably our terrace. We overlook the Pacific Ocean, and the view is really beautiful, especially at night when the stars come out, and if there’s a full moon, it’s so amazing. You feel so close to the earth, like you’re in this gigantic galaxy. 

My partner and I had been living in West Hollywood before we were in Malibu, which was pretty hectic. We were ready to be in a place that was a lot more peaceful and quiet. We both have our own businesses, and we spend a lot of time at home. It was really important to have a space that was just relaxing for us.

How would you describe your personal home aesthetic?

Comfortable and minimal—but I always joke that we just haven’t decided on furniture. I take a lot of inspiration from the location where I’m living. Now that we’re in Malibu, which is kind of a minimal place, our home reflects that.

Do you have a favorite piece of art in your home? 

The four pieces I bought by Jeffrey Hargrave, an African American artist based in New York. He’s represented by Ethan Cohen Gallery; the same gallery that represents Ai Weiwei. He’s shown his works at Art Basel and Basel Switzerland. He’s an up-and-coming artist and he’s originally from the South. I was introduced to him through a friend of mine; it just jumped out to me. He does a lot of portraiture and he plays with this cultural commentary in art. His work is incredible and pretty special to me, and the message behind it is really interesting.

Tell us about how you transitioned from blogging and fashion.

I think that I was really lacking substance, and not in a negative way. It’s just that especially in the digital world, there’s literally not any substance to it. If you’re a person who’s creative, it’s rewarding to be able to create a tangible product that people can experience. It’s interesting because scent isn’t tangible, but it’s definitely a physical experience.

How did you get into the fragrance industry?

It’s hard to get into the perfume industry, especially in France, because it’s really guarded and closed off. A lot of perfumers are these mysterious people, and it’s hard to contact them. But I was lucky; I had a friend in Italy who is also a perfumer, and he introduced me to some people in France—it was a chain reaction. I’ve been really passionate about it for years. It’s really rewarding to be able to create this, with these traditional French establishments.

Why did you want to make candles, specifically? 

Something I remember from my childhood is that my mom would always have a lit candle in the kitchen when she was cooking. And I went to this French school when I was young, where they would always light a beeswax candle in the morning, and we’d put it out at the end of the day. It’s part of my memories from childhood. I love the ambiance and the memories that candles create. You smell a certain scent, and it brings you back to how you felt at that moment in time. I also think candles relate to everybody, in an intimate way. I wanted to create that for people.

What are your favorite scents to keep in your home? 

Cander, of course! I love Scent 01. It was our first fragrance, and it took a while to create. It’s great for holidays because the main note is pine, with birch, firewood and citrus—it’s a lighter version of the heavier, firewood candles people are used to during the holidays. It’s a really elegant, crisp take on that.

I also love Our Youth—the main note is amber and it’s so indulgent.  

Is there a scent you think is overdone right now?

For the holidays, straight up firewood is kind of overdone—it’s a bit five years ago. Having a new take on firewood is nice. So many brands did knock-offs of Diptyque’s Feu de Bois. That kind of burnt wood smell is great, but can be incorporated in a more current way. 

What’s on the horizon for Cander? 

We’ll have home fragrance accessories and candle accessories. Eventually, I would like to create personal fragrances, like perfumes, but in different ways. There are classic spray perfumes, but also hair fragrances, fragrance products and lotions. And obviously more candles!

How has your pregnancy influenced the collection? 

I feel like I’m having twins because I’m pregnant and I have the Cander baby launching! I don’t know how I got the idea to have it all at once—I’m due at the end of November. When it rains, it pours, but in a good way! I feel really creative and open to a lot of possibilities. I have a good team and it’ll be great; it’s an abundance.

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